The 2017 NFL Draft may play a big role in the future of this team. If Howie Roseman, and Doug Pederson want to take this team to the next level, they’re gonna have to nail some of their picks.
1. Defensive Backs
With McKelvin already departing after a very underwhelming season in the secondary, Jim Schwartz and the Eagles will be left with Nolan Carroll, and 2nd year CB Jalen Mills to defend the elite receivers in the NFC East. In what looks like a very deep defensive back class, the Eagles could find themselves a franchise CB in the first 3 rounds.
Look out for names like Marshon Lattimore, Marlon Humphrey, Sidney Jones, and Gareon Conley in the 1st.
2. Wide Receiver
After back to back underwhelming years for the Eagles receiving core, they must add some playmakers for Carson Wentz. Former 2nd rd pick, Jordan Matthews looks to be a solid WR2, but the drop-off after that is drastic. The upcoming draft looks to be top heavy, so if Philadelphia wanted to add a real game changer, it would probably have to come with their first selection. Draft targets could change very quickly though, if the hype around signing Alshon Jeffery or Desean Jackson becomes reality.
Names to watch are Clemson WR Mike Williams, Corey Davis, and the speedy wide out John Ross.
3. Running Back
We saw rookie running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Jordan Howard take the league by storm. With Sproles nearing retirement, and Mathews being too much of a liability to injury, the Eagles really need to think about the future of their backfield. Running backs shouldn’t be too hard to come by in this draft if the Eagles wanted to pick one up.
Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey will be the names you’ll hear the most, but the position goes even deeper than that.
4. Offensive Line
When you draft a franchise QB, the number one priority is protecting him, and the Eagles found that out after Lane Johnson was served his 10 game suspension. Rookie replacement, Halapoulivaati Vaitai improved as the season went on, but the drop off from him to Johnson was clearly evident. The blame doesn’t all fall on him though. Future Hall of Famer, Jason Peters, who is getting up there in age, was top five in the league in holding penalties, while center Jason Kelce regressed mightily. As the draft isn’t filled with standout guys on the O-line, there are a few that could make a difference.
Names to watch out for are Ryan Ramczyk out of Wisconsin, and Cam Robinson from Alabama.
5. Defensive Line
What was thought to be a strength for the Eagles heading into the 2016-17 season, turned out to be a bit of a weakness. Despite a breakout season from Brandon Graham, Philadelphia’s leading sack getter was Pro Bowl DT, Fletcher Cox, who only brought the QB down 6.5 times. The lack of pass rush could be an outside factor of why the secondary struggled so much. With Bennie Logan not being a guarantee to return, the Eagles could definitely use some help from the draft.
Johnathan Allen and Myles Garrett will be way out of the Eagles reach, so names like Taco Charlton, Solomon Thomas, and Derek Barnett could be a possibility in the 1st.
Jordan is the founder of Sports Are Philly and a current student at Misericordia University.
You can follow him on Twitter @darealjlaw.